Abby Pyzik Smith
2017 ODAC Coach of the Year
In her seventh season, Coach Pyzik Smith's 2016-17 squad continued to make history and carry on the program's freshly established winning tradition. Finishing the second consecutive season with 20+ wins, ODAC regular-season champions, and the third-consecutive appearance in the ODAC championship game, Pyzik Smith and her staff earned the program's first-ever ODAC Coach of the Year award. Receiving the program's first NCAA at-large bid, Pyzik Smith led her 2016-17 team to win the first ever NCAA Tournament game in program history and made it to the Round of 32. For the third consecutive year, three players were named to the ODAC All-Conference teams and a senior named All-South Region. Thus, this year makes it eight all-conference players, three all-region players, and three all-state players in her seven years.
The 2015-16 team shattered many previous program records, took home the first ODAC championship in program history, and enjoyed the first appearance in the NCAA tournament. As a team, the 2015-16 squad was chosen preseason number one and then followed through to finish as regular-season champions and ODAC tournament champions.
Statistically, they were first in the ODAC in 10 different statistical categories, top five in the ODAC in 16 different statistical categories, and top 50 in the nation in nine different statistical categories. Graduating her second recruiting class, these seniors will leave as the first class to ever have four winning seasons, while also graduating a player, Sammi Goldsmith, with the most assists in a game, season, and career as well as the second player under her tenure, Chaney Forbush, to reach the 1,000 points club and finish in the top five in scoring in program history.
Lynchburg advanced all the way to the ODAC tournament finals in 2014-15, falling just two points short of the conference title. The Hornets finished 19-9, the most wins in program history. One of Pyzik Smith's first recruits, Shannon Allan, broke the school all-time scoring record and shared LC Senior Athlete of the Year honors.
In 2013-14, the Hornets won 12 ODAC games during the season, earning the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament, the highest mark in several years. Coming off the success in tournament play from the previous year, LC once again won a game in Salem and advanced to the semifinals before being eliminated by an NCAA tournament participant. Pyzik Smith also had two players earn All-ODAC awards, one player landing on the first team and one on the third team.
The 2012-13 season was a record-breaking performance where the 18-10 Hornets advanced to the semifinals of the ODAC tournament for the first time in 23 years. The 18 total wins tied for the program’s most in a season. The team was extremely productive on the offensive end of the court scoring the most points during a season in program history. Off the court, the program earned the 16th spot on the WBCA Academic Top 25 Honor Roll for Division III Women’s Basketball, while placing 10 individual players on the ODAC All-Academic team. Pyzik Smith continues to move the Hornets to the top of the conference with the play of All-ODAC performers in sophomores Shannon Allan and Lauren Penley. Allan also earned first-team All-State honors during the 2012-13 season, and prior to the 2013-14 season was tabbed as a pre-season honorable mention All-American by Smallcollegehoops.com.
Pyzik Smith’s background has helped her cultivate a recruiting philosophy to bring in the top talent to Lynchburg. She has the unique experience of coaching at the Division I, II, and III level. Pyzik Smith earned her degree in 2004 and spent one year as a graduate assistant at Division II Oakland City University in Indiana before moving to Division I Davidson College in North Carolina for three seasons. Pyzik Smith helped the Wildcats to a program-best 23-9 record and earned their first postseason trip to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). In 2008, Pyzik Smith returned to the ODAC as an assistant coach for Washington and Lee University. In 2010, the Generals captured the conference title and made their first-ever NCAA Division III Tournament appearance in school history.
As a scholar-athlete at Lynchburg, Pyzik Smith served as a team captain for three seasons while earning first team All-ODAC honors in her final two seasons. A former point guard, Pyzik Smith ranks in the top five of eight statistical categories, including second for assists (373) and first in three-point shooting percentage (38.7 percent). Pyzik Smith was selected to the All-State team in both her junior and senior seasons, as well as being named the Lynchburg College Senior Female Athlete of the Year in 2004. She finished her career ranked fourth in scoring with 1,122 points. Pyzik Smith holds a Bachelor of Science degree in athletic training from LC and a Master’s of Education in sports leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Coach Pyzik Smith lives in Lynchburg with her husband Ben Smith. She was inducted into the LC Athletic Hall of Fame, class of 2014.